Source Publication (e.g., journal title)

Animal Feed Science and Technology

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2007


Balancing ruminant diets for appropriate levels and types of dietary carbohydrates (CHO) is necessary to maximize production while assuring the health of the animals. Several feed fractions (i.e., volatile fatty acids (VFA), lactate, sugars, starch) are now being measured in some commercial feed laboratories and this information may assist in better formulating diets. A CHO fractionation scheme based on ruminal degradation characteristics needed for nutritional models is described and its impact on predictions with the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System (CNCPS) is assessed. Dietary CHO are divided into eight fractions: the CA1 is volatile fatty acids (VFA), CA2 is lactic acid, CA3 is other organic acids, CA4 is sugars, CB1 is starch, CB2 is soluble fiber, CB3 is available neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and CC is unavailable NDF. A Monte Carlo analysis was conducted with an example lactating dairy cow ration to compare the original CNCPS CHO scheme (CA=sugars and organic acids, CB1=starch and soluble fiber, CB2=available NDF, CC=unavailable NDF) with the developed CHO scheme. A database was used to obtain distributions and correlations of the feed inputs used in the schemes for the ingredients of the ration (corn and grass silages, high moisture corn, soybean meal, and distillers' grains). The CHO fractions varied in a decreasing order as VFAs, soluble fiber, lactic acid, sugar, NDF, starch, and total non-fiber carbohydrates (NFC). Use of the expanded scheme in the CNCPS decreased the microbial CP production, which was sensitive (standard regression coefficient in parenthesis) to corn silage starch (0.55), grass silage NDF rate (0.46), high moisture corn grain starch rate (0.44), and corn silage NDF rate (0.33). Predicted ruminal NFC digestibility remained similar. The expanded CHO scheme provides a more appropriate feed description to account for variation in changes in silage quality and diet NFC composition. However, to fully account for differences in feed CHO utilization, further improvements in the methodology used to estimate the fractions and their corresponding degradation rates, inclusion of dietary factors in dry matter intake predictions, and prediction of ruminal VFA production and pH are necessary.

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